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Platinum price breaks through 2,000 dollars for first time

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Feb 14, 2008
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LONDON, Feb 14, 2008 (AFP) - The price of platinum soared on Thursday past 2,000 dollars an ounce to a record as power shortages affected mining production in South Africa, the biggest supplier of the white precious metal, traders said.



On the London Platinum and Palladium Market, platinum struck a record 2,027.50 dollars per ounce. It later stood at 1,982 dollars as profit-taking set in.

"With no end in sight to the South African power crisis it is difficult to be anything but bullish, with platinum potentially able to gain a further 600-800 dollars an ounce over the next 2-3-months," said James Moore of TheBullionDesk.com.

South African energy group Eskom has said that its power supply would be kept at only 90 percent of full capacity until 2012.

Large parts of South Africa have intermittently been plunged into darkness since late last year as Eskom imposes planned blackouts to conserve dwindling electricity supplies.

The commercial capital Johannesburg has been hardest hit, and analysts have warned of foreign investors taking flight as everything from factory production to traffic regulation has been affected.

That in turn has seen the price of platinum break record after record, culminating in its breach above 2,000 dollars an ounce on Thursday.

Gold production has also been hit in South Africa with power to mines not always guaranteed.

In recent months South African production of the platinum has also been severely hampered by accidents and a miners' strike.

Platinum, used in the production of expensive jewellery and catalytic converters in vehicles, has seen its price jump by more than 10 percent, while it has almost doubled in one year.

Platinum's sister metal palladium, which has also been affected by the South African energy crisis, hit a five-year high of 448.50 dollars an ounce on Tuesday.

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